Breaking the cycle of violence in High Point: a true story

Breaking the cycle of violence in High Point: a true story

5:54am Jan 20, 2022
William Hill (left) and his mentor High Point Community Against Violence Executive Director Jim Summey at HPCAV headquarters on North Main Street. DAVID FORD/WDFDD

Many on the front lines working to address violence in our area say one path forward is listening to better understand how people find themselves in a cycle of crime. Today, we’ll hear from William Hill who was formerly incarcerated. Released from jail, struggling to find employment, he joined the High Point Community Against Violence job training program where he became a skilled carpenter and construction worker. In October, Hill received his commercial driver’s license. Today he’s fully employed as a certified truck driver. Hill says a decade ago his life looked very different. He shared his story with WFDD’s David Ford.

Interview Highlights: 

On crime’s early begins: “They’ve got to get it themselves.” 

Ain’t nobody showing you nothing, so you’re left with what you got. And all you got is the guns and whatever that’s in the community from the people that was tired of suffering, so they went to go get something, so they done got arrested, and they’re off the street. But their weapons are still there. Their kids have their weapons. Ain’t nobody there now. Now these kids is growing up with nobody providing anything because nobody’s there and they getting it by theyselves. They’ve got to get it theyself. That’s why. Everybody wakes up with a chance and a choice. Everybody don’t get the same chance, and everybody don’t make the same choice and you just trying to make the best of your situation. So, I got this chance, I can take this. Or we’re going to be hungry the next two weeks.

On hopelessness: “People get tired of nothing from nothing.”

In a lot of communities, in a lot of places, a lot of people really don’t have opportunities to better themselves, to live comfortably, to have nice things. And so, for me, like, I ended up doing illegal stuff because I didn’t have any opportunities. I got tired of being the butt of people’s jokes. I got tired of people saying "No." I got tired of being laughed at. I got tired of every door closing. So, if I wanted to have a certain type of life, then I had to take it. No one was giving me anything, and that’s where the violence comes in at. People get tired of nothing from nothing. Ain’t nobody trying to get me no job. I have a record. No one’s hiring me. Places say they give equal opportunities. They’re not hiring me. They’re not giving me no job. I’ve got to eat. I need clothes. I need shelter. And if y’all want me to stop taking stuff, I need to have an opportunity. Because you’re tired. Everything is falling on deaf ears so now you’ve got to touch somebody, so they can feel you.

On High Point Community Against Violence: “I’ve learned that patience is a valuable tool.”

When I first started dealing with Community Against Violence I was more not sure what I was getting into. I wasn’t sure how I was going to make it, and it wasn’t easy, and it was scary. But I looked at it like "here’s an opportunity. They’re saying that they have some things that they’re offering. Let me see what it’s like." And as I began to grow and deal with Community Against Violence, they offered some pretty good skills and training, and I was able to take that and take it to the next level. You know, I’ve come to learn that patience is a valuable tool. You know you can use that, because when you’re doing this type of work, everything is a process ... And it feels pretty good to make progress and come a long way, you know. It was rough at first. Then I got the skills, and I was able to work and go out and do my own thing. But I’m a Christian and I really involve God with every step of the process, and I’ve been holding on. If you quit, you’ll never finish anything. And so, that’s been my drive.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This transcript was lightly edited for clarity.

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